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#stimuluschecks #stimuluscheckssenttothedead #coronavirusstimuluschecks
The federal government sent coronavirus stimulus payments to approximately 1.1 million deceased people — totaling $1.4 billion according to the Government Accountability Office. Yahoo Finance’s Jessica Smith joins Zack Guzman to discuss.

Video Transcript
ZACK GUZMAN: Meantime, some interesting findings from a new congressional watchdog survey looking into those stimulus checks that were sent out in the last round. Apparently, more than one million of those stimulus checks were actually sent to dead Americans, according to one watchdog.

And for more on that, I want to get to Yahoo Finance’s Jessica Smith, who has the details here. And Jessica, I mean, more than a billion dollars potentially sent to dead Americans here. How does that even happen?

JESSICA SMITH: Yeah, $1.4 billion sent to people who had died. The Government Accountability Office put out its first report today on the coronavirus response. The agency is required, as part of the CARES Act, to issue a report bi-monthly looking at the response so far.

And I did talk to a director at the GAO few minutes ago, and he said that Treasury knew this could happen, that officials had brought it up. They had warned that this was a possibility but IRS counsel determined they did not have the legal authority to deny payments to people who filed a tax return but had died. GAO told me the IRS reversed course, but that was after most of the payments had already gone out.

The watchdog also found that in order to fulfill the mandate that these checks go out as rapidly as possible, Treasury and IRS used some dated procedures from 2008 that did not filter these payments through death records. Now, the GAO recommends making sure all of the agencies involved have access to those death records to make sure this doesn’t happen again. IRS has those records right now, but not Treasury and not the agency that actually sends out those checks. So that could be a problem going forward if they don’t address it.

They also– the GAO– want Treasury and IRS to take more steps to try to get that money back. IRS has put a notice on their website saying how to return that money but GAO says that they should actually send letters to everybody who may have gotten those checks improperly, to the families or to those recipients, so they can return that money.

Minority Leader Chuck Schumer did put out a statement saying that this shows the need for more oversight. He said, in part, “every small bit of oversight that the Republicans have done has had to be pushed by Democrats. We should be having far more robust oversight over what has happened, as well as moving forward on a new bill.” Now, the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis is going to have a hearing with GAO tomorrow, so we’ll be sure to hear more about this in the coming days.

ZACK GUZMAN: Yeah, that’s– I mean, $1.4 billion, that’s a lot of money there. And economists might disagree on how best to get stimulus checks out there that would be spent. Pretty clear, though, that you can’t spend it if you’re not around or alive to do so. But just crazy numbers there.Subscribe to Yahoo Finance:

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